The Oceanside Holograms
He found her awash in the sands of mercurial nobles.
Everyone was the same — the men dressed as sea gods, the women dressed as mermaids with the fishtails painted onto their bare skin — and he was so tired of mingling.
Artificial seaweed clung to the walls, pulsing that saltwater smell. Servants had sprinkled sand over the marble floors. Burnt marshmallows in cocktail glasses. Untouched.
Because no one was actually at the ball. All the guests were holograms. He was alone and meant to pick a bride from flirting images—had anyone actually shown up?
White chiffon hung over her shoulders, a cloak of synthetic mist. She lifted her skirts, moonlight glinting off her glass slippers, leaving the ballroom for the gardens. Holograms couldn’t leave the ballroom.
He had danced with her, danced with all of them.
She was more interested in space flowers than him.
He strode towards her as the androids rang midnight.